13 Facts About Sloths for Kids

Sloths are commonly thought to be slow, lazy and sleepy. These traits are humorous and perhaps even deeply appealing for exhausted parents juggling work, household responsibilities and raising busy little kids. Reading stories about sloths seems perfectly fitting when its time to coax little ones into a nice, deep slumber. For kids who want to learn a little more, share these fun sloth facts that make these animals so unique.   




All the Fun Facts Children Want to Know About Sloths

Sure, they move slowly, but there is so much more to learn about the life of sloths. They are mysterious, misunderstood animals that have been studied extensively. Here are some fascinating tidbits that present sloths in a whole new light.  

  • Sloths are very photogenic since their mouths are permanently set in what appears to be a smile. The truth is that "happy" expression is not a reflection of their true state all the time. If sloths are experiencing stress, pain or anxiety, their expression never changes.
  • Sloths are amazing swimmers and much quicker in the water than on land. In fact, they can move through water three times faster than they can run. Sloths' long claws interefere with walking and running, but they are advantageous when swimming. Even more interesting, sloths can hold their breath up to forty minutes. These animals have two additional neck verterbrae than every other mammal, which allows them to easily turn their heads while positioning their noses above the water.
  • The sloth's digestive system is ridiculously slow, which probably is not too much of a surprise. They have a multi-component stomach that supports the breakdown of cellulose, a cellular component of their plant-based diet. Scientests have discovered it can take 30 days for sloths to digest a single leaf. The sloths' slow metabolic rate is why they are so sluggish. In the course of an entire day, sloths will not cover more than half a length of a football field.
  • They spend the majority of their time in the trees so that they are safe from predators like jaguars and eagles. They come down occasionally to mate, find more food, or poop (which they do only once a week!)
  • Millions of years ago, sloths were the size of elephants. They roamed the earth, albeit slowly, by foot and pulled down tree branches for food.
  • Sloths do not have incisors. This makes it difficult for them to nibble leaves into small enough bits to chew up and swallow. The animals instead use their extremely firm lips to repeatedly smack the leaves so they eventually break down into little chunks. 
  • We have sloths to thank for avocados. Giant sloths, unlike the the smaller versions that swing from the trees, used to roam the earth much like dinosaurs. The enormous size of their digestive system allowed them to swallow avocodo seeds whole. They consumed avocados in large quantities and then spread the seeds, fully intact, wherever they roamed.
  • The life expectancy of sloths is a big mystery. Scientists and wildlife experts have not been able to accurately determine the age of adult sloths. Also, these creatures have never been successfully tracked from birth until death in their natural habitat to assess their average lifespan. The oldest sloth living in captivity has reached 50 years of age, but these mammals likely live longer in a the wild.
  • Sloths fall out of trees without suffering injuries. These funny creatures can easily fall 100 feet without a single bump, bruise, or broken bone. In fact, it is suggested that sloths fall on average about once a week. When two male sloths are fighting over a female for mating purposes, each tries to push the other from the tree. Fortunately, they rebound and quickly climb back up high into branches without suffering.
  • Cold temperatures are very bad for sloths. In order to conserve energy, sloths have lost the ability to control fluctuations in their body temperature. As a result, they can experience swings of up to 10 degrees celsius in core body temperature every single day. If outside temperatures drop, microbes in the sloths' stomachs die and they can no longer digest leaves. So, in essence, sloths can die of starvation even when their bellies are full.
  • Their pooping habits are quite unusual. Kids will find it interesting to know that sloths only relieve themselves about once a week, but when they do, it is quite the production. The output weighs about one third of their total body weight every time sloths do the deed. It's a good thing they don't drop these bombs from the trees or creatures below suffer some pretty stinky  blows. Rather, sloths dig a hole at the base of a tree and poop into it.
  • Sloths are stronger than you might think. Although they have significantly less muscle mass than other mammals, sloths are easily three times stronger than humans. Newborns can hoist themselves over a tree branch with just one arm. They have unique tendons in both their hands and feets that allow them to hang for hours, even when sleeping. This strength is also what protects them from predators. Not even jaguars are able to loosen a sloth's strong grip on a tree branch.
  • You may be interested in the best places to observe sloths in their natural environment. If your family is up for an adventure, there are many places to watch sloths swing from the trees, although it's more likely you will find them sleeping! Here is a list of some good spots to visit in Costa Rica: La Fortuna, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Bijagua Ranas, and Rincon De La Vieja. You can also find these mammals in these spots of Peru: Tambopata National Reserve and Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.  



 Plush Sloth Toys and Gifts for Kids

Adorable sloth baby books are really cute gifts, especially when paired with another themed toy, blanket, or stuffed animal.  A super idea is to create a themed gift centered around this endearing mammal. Pull together a pile of stories, add a stuffed sloth, and toss in a cute onesie with a picture of this creature swinging from a tree. Here are some favorite sloth plush animals and gifts for kids of all ages.


National Geographic Sloth Plush

National Geographic Sloth Plush

Measuring about 12 inches from toe to toe, this realistic looking sloth plush is soft, flexible and well-constructed. This stuffed sloth is built to withstand hours of snuggle time and brings an authentic touch to a jungle-themed bedroom.



Plush Sloth

FAO Schwarz Warm Paws Plush Sloth

Meet your perfect nap time pal! This super soft sloth can be heated up in the microwave for a warm, comfy snuggle. A lavender scent also helps to calm, soothe, and settle little ones down for a long, deep sleep.



sloth teether

Sloth Teether Ring and Rattle

Looking for a fun baby shower gift? This Taggies sensory rattle is just the inspiration you need to pull your gift together. An all-in-one teether, rattle, plush and ribbon toy will keep baby stimulated for long car rides and in the stroller. Add some other sloth-themed gifts, like books, blankets, and plush animals for your favorite new baby.


sloth blanket

Soft Sloth Throw Blanket

An amazingly soft 50" x 60" light pink and grey blanket covered with adorable sloths. Grab some children's books about sloths and snuggle up under this cozy blanket for quality reading time with your little one.

oversized sloth plush

Oversized Sloth Stuffed Animal

Measuring about 30 inches tall, this large sloth plush stands out among regular stuffed animals. Little kids will love snuggling, napping, and hugging this big, furry animal.


giant stuffed sloth

Large Sloth Stuffed Plush Animal

This is one of the plumpest, fluffiest sloths around. This stuffed animal, measuring about 20 inches long, is ready to provide your child with lots of comfort and TLC! Grab some books about sloths and cuddle up with this soft plush toy for some sweet reading time.


hanging plush sloth

Hanging Sloth Plush Toy

This floppy-limbed plush sloth is soft and snuggly. With velcro on its hands and feet, this buddy can be easily hung from all kinds of interesting places around the house. And when it's time to read some children's books about sloths, this companion will be ready to cuddle up and listen.

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